MILTON, September 9, 2023 – James MacDonald took advantage of a loaded lineup to win three of Saturday’s four Champlain Stakes divisions at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
A total of four Champlain divisions, two for filly pacers and two for male pacers, were contested on a stakes-filled program.
Champlain Stakes – 2-Year-Old Open Pace
Legendary Hanover improved his record to a perfect five for five with a stakes record 1:50.0 victory in the $93,000 first Champlain division.
The son of Huntsville and driver James MacDonald left from post-nine, landing fourth, before rushing to the lead in the second-quarter. Legendary Hanover cleared co-favourite Chain Gang, posting a half of :56.1 and then a three-quarter time of 1:23.3.
In the stretch, Legendary Hanover would turn away the efforts of Chain Gang with a _ final-quarter for a length and a half victory. Captains Quarters finished third, while Cupid Shuffle was fourth.
“Nine hole is tough, especially when you’ve got a good colt like Chain Gang inside,” said MacDonald. “I turned for home with him on my back, he’s a great horse and I know what kind of engine he’s got. I knew my horse was going to have to give me 26 and change to hold him off. He’s just a special horse and I’m happy to be along for the ride.”
Trained by Tony Beaton, Legendary Hanover now has two victories in 1:50.0 and has topped $150,000 for owners Eric Good, West Wins Stable and Mark Dumain.
With victories in the Dream Maker, Nassagaweya and Champlain, Legendary Hanover will now turn his eyes to next Saturday’s Metro Pace eliminations.
“Going into those big races you want to really move him to the front and draw off and win if you can, if the horse can,” said MacDonald. “But at the same time you want him prepped and ready and just chomping at the bit when those big stakes come around. I think going into the Metro he seems razor sharp. It’s the first time he’s got stretched out a bit so it’s good to see him answer the bell when one got to him”
A $2 win ticket on Legendary Hanover returned $4.20.
Remember The Alamo rushed to the top at the half and never looked back to win the $94,000 second Champlain division in 1:51.0.
With driver Doug McNair unable to make Saturday’s races due to travel delays, Phil Hudon reunited with Remember The Alamo to pick a redemption victory. The duo had teamed in the Dream Maker final, finishing fifth with broken equipment.
Remember The Alamo got away fourth and would attack the lead at the half in :56.2. After reaching three-quarters in 1:24.0, the Tony Alagna trainee kicked home in :27 and kept his rivals at bay to win by a neck over charging stablemate Captain Luke. Nijinsky rallied for third, while Storm Shadow was fourth.
A son of Captaintreacherous, Remember The Alamo now has two wins in four starts and over $70,000 earned for owners Riverview Racing, Marvin and Lynn Katz, and Remember The Alamo Racing.
Remember The Alamo is eligible to the Metro Pace elimination. He paid $5.90 to win.
Champlain Stakes – 2-Year-Old Filly Pace
Pass Line kicked off Saturday’s stakes action with an effortless 1:50.2 victory in the $89,500 first division.
Fresh off matching the track record of 1:49.3, Pass Line was sent off as the 1/9 favourite and lived up to the billing. The daughter of All Bets Off and driver James MacDonald left from the outside post-seven to drop in fourth before brushing to the lead at the half.
Pass Line led by the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:23.4 before kicking home in :26.4 under no urging to win by 3 ½ lengths. Elodie Hanover, who handed off the lead to Pass Line, finished second, while Bettors Sisters was third and Odds On Platinum was fourth.
Trained by Dave Menary, Pass Line improved her record to seven wins from nine starts and over $300,000 earned. The rookie filly is a homebred for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC and co-owned by Frank Baldachino.
The Champlain Stakes victory is the first Grand Circuit win for Pass Line. She is not eligible to the upcoming Shes A Great Lady.
Pass Line paid $2.10 to win.
MacDonald and Menary teamed up again to win in the $89,500 second division with Its A Love Thing.
Sent off as 1/9, Its A Love Thing got away fourth as a wild :25.3 opening-quarter was posted by Wicked Weather. Genie Hanover moved to the top entering the backstretch before Watching You and Its A Love Thing moved to the outside.
Watching You led to three-quarters in 1:22.3, while Its A Love Thing was able to tuck in behind briefly. In the stretch, Its A Love Thing powered by to a 2 ¾ lengths victory in a stakes-record equaling time of 1:50.2.
Watching You finished second, while Wicked Weather and Tea Party Hanover rounded out the top-four.
A daughter of Bettors Delight, Its A Love Thing improves to four for seven with over $200,000 earned for owners Eric Good, Thomas Biederman and Josh Green.
The win behind Its A Love Thing gave MacDonald his fifth victory on the card.
Its A Love Thing, who is eligible to the Shes A Great Lady, paid $2.30 to win.
Mark McKelvie, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms